When I was a young girl growing up in the church, I loved contemporary Christian music. When Jamie got Amazon music at Christmastime, I was ecstatic to learn that many of my favorite songs from back in the day could be streamed on this service. Silverwind. Carmen. Kim Boyce. Petra. Newsboys. Even David Meece. Songs I hadn’t heard in years were suddenly blaring through our house. As I heard them I was once again a young girl at a concert singing along at the top of my lungs. Memories!!! Not to sound too old, but that music was so much better than today! (Okay, yeah, I get it, I sound like an old fogey talking about these kids and their music today—-moving on.) However, as much as I loved almost all contemporary Christian music there was one song that I absolutely could not stand. Every time it came on the radio, I rushed to turn it off, even though it was very popular. What was it? Larry Norman’s “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” Even when D.C. Talk (my all-time favorite group) remade it, I still hated it and fast-forwarded it on my tape. (Remember fast-forwarding cassette tapes?) Why did I hate it so much? It was so sad!!!! "A man and wife asleep in bed She hears a noise and turns her head he's gone I wish we’d all been ready Two men walking up a hill One disappears and ones left standing still I wish we’d all been ready There's no time to change your mind The son has come and you've been left behind" I mean this is heartbreaking! I hated the image of two people living life together and one going to Heaven while the other was left behind. It made me cry every time I heard it. That’s why I didn’t listen to it—-because I was a teenager and I wanted to be happy. I didn’t want this sad song disturbing my jam. Even though I knew it was true, I didn’t want to think about it. It was just too disturbing. Even today when I hear this song, it still makes me sad. Because the truth is that it is sad. But it’s also true. Sometimes I wonder if this is one of the reasons that so many people today don’t talk about Heaven and Hell—because it’s too sad, too scary, too true. If we really thought about it…if we really believed it….it would interrupt our lives. Maybe that’s why so many Christians don’t want to face the facts that: 1. Heaven and Hell are real places.
2. Everyone will go to one or the other when they die.
3. Only those who have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior will go to Heaven. All who have rejected Him will spend eternity in Hell.
4. Eternity is forever. There is no time to change your mind after you die.
5. All roads do not lead to Heaven. All religions are not equal
6. Good people go to Hell and bad people who repent and accept Jesus as their Savior go to Heaven.
7. Someday Jesus will rapture His church, those who do not have a personal relationship with Him will be left behind. It worries me that these truths aren’t being talked about enough in today’s church. I believe that one of the reasons is because it can be sad. I understand how heartbreaking it is to face the fact that many people—good people—die and go to Hell. I am torn up every time I hear of someone dying and I don’t know if they knew Jesus because I don’t know where they are spending eternity. I hurt each time I hear of someone who knew Jesus but chose to walk away and live in open rebellion to God. I get it—-it’s easier to believe that everyone goes to Heaven—-but it just isn’t true. And it’s sad. It’s hard to think about. If we really let it sink in, it changes the way we approach life. Because if there really is a Heaven and a Hell, and real people—-friends, neighbors, co-workers, could go to Hell—-then it should change us. It should motivate us.
It should cause us to get out of our “happy” bubble and realize that our lives are about so much more than our pleasure—-it’s about influencing people to have a relationship with Jesus and committing their lives to them. More than “wishing we’d all be ready”, we need to live in a way that helps as many people get ready as possible. How can we do this? First, we need to be open about the fact that we are Christians.
We need to talk to people about Jesus and tell them about the difference He’s made in our lives. We can’t be undercover Christians—-trying to blend in with the world and hoping that no one notices we are different. No, we are different. More importantly, we have what they need. Keeping your faith to yourself is as selfish as having a cure to the coronavirus but only sharing the antidote with yourself and your family. No one would do this? Yet, people are dying spiritually and we don’t want to “offend” anyone. Who cares if they are offended or if they like you—you have what they need. Tell them about it. Secondly, we must represent Jesus well. “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. This is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”---Brennan Manning Simply put: Live like a Christian. Make Jesus look good. Represent Him well. Be kind. Love people. Don’t be a hypocrite. Obey the Bible and live your life for Jesus and practice what you preach. Finally, we need to pray. I’ll be honest and admit that there are people in my life who do not know Jesus and they don’t want to hear about Him from me. We’ve shared the Gospel for years, we’ve lived the life in front of them, and yet, they’d rather not have a relationship with us than come to Jesus. What can you do in this situation? Are you free from all responsibility? Absolutely not!! This is when you pray. Pray that God will bring people into their lives that they will listen to. Pray that God will change their hearts. Pray that God will arrange circumstances in their lives that will cause them to come to Him. Pray and pray and pray and pray. Prayer can move mountains that we cannot. It is the responsibility of every believer to pray for the people in our lives who do not know Jesus.
Because Heaven and Hell are real. Eternity is forever. Rather than denying these facts or ignoring our responsibility, we need to let these facts motivate us. To Witness. To Live Like a Christian. To Give to Missions. To Participate in Outreach. And most importantly to pray. So that our friends, our family, our co-workers, our neighbors, and everyone will be ready.